Poll: When Will The Dodgers Contend?

After the much maligned Frank McCourt sold the team to a group headed by Stan Kasten and Magic Johnson, it's once again a good time to be a Dodgers fan.  In the short-term, the news is likely to spark attendance at Dodger Stadium.  In the long-term, patrons are hopeful that they will see the club spend the money necessary to win.  Despite being in the nation's No. 2 media market, the Dodgers have just the 12th highest payroll in baseball this season after spending about $50K more than the Twins and about $50MM less than the Phillies. 

While they didn't make a Prince Fielder-sized splash this winter, they did manage to lock up Matt Kemp to an eight-year, $160MM deal that will keep him in L.A. through his age-34 season.  They also signed Clayton Kershaw to a two-year, $19MM deal, but they'll really have to break out their checkbooks to sign the left-hander into his free agent years.  They'll also have to dole out major money to keep Andre Ethier next winter if the outfielder stays healthy and plays up to his ability in 2012.

The Dodgers might not be ready to play with the big boys just yet, but they do have pieces in place and it appears that they'll have the money needed to build on that.  However, it's not yet clear when they'll start spending and how soon those dollars can translate to wins.  Some have speculated that the Dodgers could add to their payroll prior to the deadline if they appear to be in the mix for the playoffs.  Others think that the club will hold off on their spending splurge until the offseason.  All things considered, when do you think the Dodgers will find themselves back in contention?

37 Responses to Poll: When Will The Dodgers Contend? Leave a Reply

  1. Guest 3 years ago

    2013. I fully expect them to extend or re-sign Ethier, as well as add another bat this winter. Wright would be a great fit if the Mets don’t pick up his option. And I could even see them signing Montero, or Napoli (to play 1B), or Swisher (and move him to LF), or even Hamilton if any of their current teams let them hit free agency.

    And if Philly can’t extend Hamels before November, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if the Dodgers were able to land him.

  2. monkeydung 3 years ago

    not just being a homer right now. If Ethier, Billingsley, and Gordon can play the season like they did this weekend, then the Dodgers are legitimately two or three pieces away from being a great ball club.

    Replace Uribe (hopefully with David Wright)
    Replace Loney (not sure with who – maybe Jerry Sands, maybe a trade?0

    The rotation could use some back end help as well.

    • BlueSkyLA
      BlueSkyLA 3 years ago

      I wouldn’t want to predict a season based on the first weekend but I think a lot of eyes are going to be opened this year by Dee Gordon tearing up the basepaths for an entire season. Wouldn’t want to judge the back end of the rotation or the bullpen based on one weekend either.

    • thegrayrace 3 years ago

      With Wright, I see one of two things happening:
      1.) He has a great season, and the Mets pick up his option.
      2.) He has mediocre or injured-plagued season, and the Mets decline his option. At which point, do the Dodgers really want to make a long-term commitment to him?

      I see 1B (Napoli, Berkman, Pena) and LF (Upton, Bourn, Hamilton, Victorino) the best possibilities for improving the lineup. We could also upgrade at catcher by signing Montero away from the Dbacks.

      Castellanos is playing 3B in AAA, maybe he’ll save us from Uribe. Mark Reynolds is another option. Far from ideal, but at least when he makes contact, it has the potential to go far. When Uribe makes contact he just GIDP.

      • PWNdroia 3 years ago

        The Rays might be willing to trade BJ Upton to the Dodgers because there’s no way they’ll lock him up.  Of course, the price him probably isn’t cheap.

  3. monkeydung 3 years ago

    curious as to those who voted “not anytime soon” – how many of you are Giants fans, and how many of you actually believe that? also – what would it take for you to believe differently?

    • moondog45 3 years ago

       Not a Giant’s fan and yes I really do believe it. Overrating your players and throwing money doesn’t always work. The Dodgers could easily be the Cubs or Mets.

      • monkeydung 3 years ago

        who is overrated on the Dodgers? I could see maybe Ethier being overrated, but the only guys people are really high on are Kemp & Kershaw and they are 100% deserving.

    • wadebets 3 years ago

      I think a lot of whether the Dodgers will contend or not has to do with the other teams in the division. DBacks are looking strong and I think the Giants are a better team, but they’re one offseason away from revamping if Magic decides to do so.

  4. BitLocker 3 years ago

    If you’re a dodger fan, you guys better hope they spend the money right and not for the sake of spending money. You guys don’t want to be the Cubs.

    • Guest 3 years ago

      Fair point. But much like the Angels, it sounds as though they’re gonna be able to afford a couple Vernon Wells-like mistakes along the way. I’m not a Dodger fan, but I’d be feeling pretty good right now if I was.

  5. Encarnacion's Parrot 3 years ago

    Not for a while. The Diamondbacks already have a decent team and still have the 4th best farm system, according to Baseball America. The Padres are still a couple years away from contending, but have the 3rd best farm. The Giants also have all that pitching. Then there’s the Dodgers, with the 24th farm system, and were a .500 team last year even with Kemp deserving the MVP and Kershaw having the year he did.

    The NLWest isn’t as weak as it used to be, so I’m thinking 2016 if they want to have sustained success, 2014 if they want to take shortcuts.

    • Doug J 3 years ago

      The Giants may have the pitching but they have no offense to support the pitching staff. The Diamondbacks won a weak division against teams that were under performing, including the Dodgers and the Giants. The D-backs are unlikely to repeat last seasons second have success of going 45-25 after starting the season 49-43. The NL West will be very competitive, the Dodgers may not win it all but they are closer to competing than 2016.

      Even if they keep Loney another year, if they can shore up 3rd base (offensively and defensively) along with resigning Either and filling the other outfield spot (Victorino would be a good fit, and if he doesn’t resign with Phillie, would be a great hitter in front of Kemp). Then the Dodgers would be in contention for the playoffs. Also, Billingsley has always under-performed. He was originally projected as a future ace, now he can probably only be a solid number two but that is all that is needed. One more reliable starter for a few more years and then the Dodgers can fill in the farm system that has been depleted by poor trades and draft choices.

      • BlueSkyLA
        BlueSkyLA 3 years ago

        Well stated. The NLW is up for grabs this year. The Giants, Dodgers and D’backs have about equal chances of finishing first. The Dodgers have one potential advantage over the other two in that the team payroll could rise substantially during the season. If they’re a player or two away from being postseason contenders then the new owners are going to spend that money.

    • It’s not a matter of winning the West.

      The question posed was when the Dodgers can contend, and with the extra wild card spot, any team, while not probable, could conceivably finish third in their division and still make the playoffs.

      The Dodgers can contend as early as next year.

      • Encarnacion's Parrot 3 years ago

        Well, considering the 2nd WC is just asinine with it being a 1-game playoff, I never considered it with my attempt at rational thinking.

        Are the Dodgers better than the likes of St. Louis, Cincinnati, Washington or Philly–teams they’ll have to compete against for the WC’s? On paper, I’d have to say not yet.

        @yahoo-MBTEY3OO42AUE5XDIBXMNJ4CXE:disqus , with such a dreadful farm system, I fail to see how they’ll acquire a meaningful bat in the summer. If it took Zach Wheeler prospect for the Giants to land Carlos Beltran for 50-something games–closer to being the rule rather than the exception–what you see is probably what you have.

        Again, this was a .500 team that did little to improve (not the GM’s fault I might add) and their best players not underperforming compared to their career stats.

        I’m just purely speculating that the team will go 85-77, finish 2nd in the division well behind Arizona, and not really compete for the 2nd WC given the competition.

        • Doug J 3 years ago

          I think that you are selling the Dodgers a bit short. Even if the Dodgers can get average production out of Ethier, Loney, and Uribe then they will will improve more than 3 wins on the season. I don’t think that Arizona is going to repeat last season’s success as their first half performance is more indicative of their ability than the second half. Also, I don’t think the Cards will improve over last year when they only barely made the play-offs. The Dodgers may not be a top 5 team in the NL next year but they aren’t as bad as you think.

          The reality is that with the exception of Kershaw and Kemp (and Gordon after his call up)

          • Doug J 3 years ago

            (Sorry, cut-off) With the exception of those players, the majority the Dodgers performed below career average. Don’t sleep on the Dodgers, they will be closer to 90 wins than you give credit.

  6. There’s a slight they can win a wild card this year, but their pitching probably isn’t good enough for them to contend. 

  7. monkeydung 3 years ago

    Random fact: The 5 starters on the Dodgers rotation this year were worth 13.5 WAR last year. The 5 starters on the Giants rotation this year were wroth 14.2 WAR last year. Not even a game better.

    • How much of that was Kershaw and Billingsley?

      • monkeydung 3 years ago

        .9 was from Billingsley and 7 were from Kershaw. Looking for a bounce back from Bills & probably a slight regression from Kershaw, though I’m sure he’ll be great again.

  8. Phillies_Aces35 3 years ago

    Next year if they sign Cole Hamels this off season. 

  9. MetsMagic 3 years ago

    Depends. They have an amazing foundation with Kemp and Kershaw, and I like Billingsley as a 2/3 starter, but that’s about all they have at the moment. As it stands now, they’re in a similar baseball situation that they’ve been in for some time now; middling at best team with a middling at best farm system, ran by a middling at best front office. But now, they have the financial avenues that you would associate with the Los Angeles Dodgers, so there’s a lot of hope.

    I think they make a serious run at signing Cole Hamels this offseason, along with whatever bats become available. They might set their hopes on guys like Miguel Montero and David Wright, but with the Diamondbacks looking like contenders, and with the Mets own financial situation much improved, I expect guys like that to be extended. It all depends on what is available, because I know that they will do what they can. 

    • monkeydung 3 years ago

      They also have Dee Gordon, Andre Ethier, Ted Lilly who is a very decent # 3 pitcher, Kenley Jansen, and Javy Guerra.

      Also, I don’t see the Mets extending Wright – it just doesn’t make sense for them right now. Also, if he continues to play at the level he showed this weekend, he may want to test Free Agency waters.

      • BlueSkyLA
        BlueSkyLA 3 years ago

        True, and although the Dodgers’ farm system isn’t deep they have some pitching talent waiting in the wings. If either of the 4-5 starters falters expect to see Eovaldi come up again.

  10. kräftig. entschieden 3 years ago

    They have several FAs that they can throw money at next year, like Hamels, Grienke, Hamilton, Victorino, Bourne, etc. I think if they sign one of those two pitchers and one of those OFs, they’ll be at least fringe contenders in a tenuous NL West.

  11. LUWahooNatFan 3 years ago

    Doesn’t seem like it would take much to compete in the N.L. West

  12. thegrayrace 3 years ago

    Dodgers can easily contend in 2013 with a few additions. The infield is by far their biggest weakness, and if they can bring in Montero to catch, Napoli for 1B, or Wright for 3B, they’d all be sizable improvements. Gordon is going to impress a lot of people this season, and will be a huge upgrade from the oft-injured Furcal. LF is also an easily upgraded position with Upton, Bourn, Victorino and Hamilton all to be free agents. And the rotation would be top notch with the addition of Hamels or Greinke.

    And folks are really underrating the Dodgers farm system. While it is admittedly very weak in positional prospects, they have a great amount of depth in potential top of rotation starting pitchers. Webster, Eovaldi, De La Rosa, Lee, Gould, Reed, Withrow, Martin, etc. could all be valuable trade chips if the Dodgers looked to improve via trade.

    If ownership is looking to spend big money to make an immediate impact, I’ll be looking for something like:

    Gordon SS
    Upton LF
    Kemp CF
    Ethier RF
    Napoli 1B
    Montero C
    Castellanos 3B (playing 3B in AAA, hopefully will be ready)
    M. Ellis 2B

    Reynolds would also be an acceptable option for 3B. Anything is better than Uribe, really.

  13. monkeydung 3 years ago

    not sure who is going to want Mark Ellis. Also, I’m not sure if Brand Phillips makes up for the fact that James Loney would still be at 1B

  14. vtadave 3 years ago

    Loney is a free agent and is likely gone after this year, if not sooner. As for Ellis, the Dodgers would presumably eat most of that contract, and someone would bite on a trade offer.

  15. BlueSkyLA
    BlueSkyLA 3 years ago

    The Dodgers are going to want Mark Ellis. I thought he did a really good job handling the #2 slot this weekend, advancing Gordon at most of his opportunities. 

  16. monkeydung 3 years ago

    agreed. i guess I meant, who would want to trade for Ellis. I can’t imagine he’d be a big upgrade to any contending team, and he’s too old to be dealt to a rebuilding team if the return is an upgrade for the dodgers.

    also – i’m happy with him so far, especially on defense, but hopefully DeJesus or Castellanos can provide equal or great value if necessary.

  17. You can vote multiple times and don’t have to sign in

  18. BlueSkyLA
    BlueSkyLA 3 years ago

    You can cast a vote without having a good reason. You know, like in a democracy.

  19. BlueSkyLA
    BlueSkyLA 3 years ago

    Exactly the analogy I was going for.

  20. lakersdodgersyankees4life 3 years ago

    and Webster, Eovaldi, Gould, Reed, Withrow, De La Rosa, and even Ethan Martin. Sorry, got caught up in the pitching prospects that have #2 or better potential that could all be coming up or have already succeeded in the majors soon

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